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will demand this; for they should be diligently attended to, and not in a slovenly manner. But, on the other hand, they should not be too frequent, lest they afford an irresistible temptation to a certain active-minded class of persons, whose prolific brains, and over busy meddlesomeness, may create trouble.

(To be concluded.)

SHORT PAPERS.

ON THE INIQUITY OF TRAFFIC.

TAKING up an old magazine, we were struck with the above words as the title of one of the Articles. The author's own mind had been led to the subject through reading Ezek. xxviii. 18, where these remarkable words occur in God's judgment concerning Tyre: "The iniquity of thy traffic." In the present paper we shall give some extracts from the Article, interspersed with remarks of our own. The writer very properly says:

"I feel no disposition to suspect any class of men, as though they were more corrupt than the rest of our species; much less shall I aim, by what I may advance in this paper, to improperly expose any individual to the censure of others. Having a high opinion of the integrity and religion of many professors of godliness who are engaged in trade and mercantile concerns, I am persuaded that it is their constant aim to depart from all iniquity. I have no suspicion, therefore, that there is any iniquity in traffic itself, but I conceive that, like other things in which sinners are concerned, it is often the occasion of calling into exercise the evil dispositions of the heart. 'The ploughing of the wicked is sin;' and so, I doubt not, is their traffic." He then asks the question: "Wherein consists the iniquity of traffic?" and answers his question by replying truly, "Some branches of traffic are in themselves absolutely unlawful." He instances the sale of playing-cards for the purpose of gambling. But may we not greatly enlarge the list? What shall we think of keeping public-houses, or opening and supporting places where poor wretched creatures are encouraged to squander their money in reducing themselves to a state and condition lower than that of the beasts? where a livelihood is obtained by the death of all that is morally and physically good in poor fallen human nature? We read that a part of the traffic of mystical Babylon is in the "souls of men." But is there no traffic in the souls of men nearer home than Babylon ? Do not those who keep public houses for the most part share in so odious a traffic ? And shall the Lord's people have their hands defiled by this "iniquity of traffic "?

But must we not in all fairness go farther? Are we to spare the high, and strike the low? No! The wisdom that is from above is "without partiality." Well, then, if in the generality of public-houses, and places where strong drink is sold over the counter, is to be found in a hideous revolting form "the iniquity of traffic," what shall we say of those who gain a livelihood or grow rich by supplying such places with that which they traffic

so iniquitously in? Are we to turn with abhorrence from the death-producing stream, and contemplate complacently the death-dispensing fountain? Is there not something of the "iniquity of traffic" in those who supply such public-houses? Shall, then, professors of godliness be contaminated therewith? Our author takes a further view of this particular branch of traffic. Mind, we have not said that even the traffic in liquors, which may be abused for intoxicating purposes, must of itself be an iniquitous traffic. We dare not say that the duly moderated and temperate use of such liquors is in itself iniquitous, and, therefore, of course, we dare not say the sale of them necessarily is so. It is not traffic, but the iniquity which comes into traffic, we notice. But our author points out the danger in this particular traffic, not only to the customer, but the vendor. He properly says:

"Some trades, though not positively unlawful, yet are attended with such great temptations as should cause all those persons to decline them, who are conscious of a constitutional tendency to fall into the snares wherewith they are connected. On this account some ought wholly to decline the selling of strong drink or of spirituous liquors."

May we not justly add to this that there is not only the danger to the man himself, but that he may be exposing others who are in his employ to temptations which their moral characters cannot withstand, and to dangers which may issue in their ruin? Can a man professing godliness look up to heaven with a clear conscience, and stretch forth in his prayer clean hands, who sends forth the young or the unstable, perhaps even members of his own family, into public-houses to hunt up and get orders for strong drink from customers? God reprobated amongst the Jews their sacrificing their children to Moloch. May not a more dreadful sacrifice be offered up at the kindred shrines of mammon and strong drink in this land of ours? Our author is very suggestive in a remark he makes in reference to the traffic in weapons of war:

"A Christian who attempts to support his family by making weapons of war will need peculiar sincerity and self-denial to make him sufficiently earnest in prayer for the peace of mankind."

We will now give some nearly verbatim extracts from the author of this Article:

"Some trades, though not unlawful, yet are often carried on in an iniquitous manner; e.g., by adulteration, which must in many cases tend to the great injury of health, as in the article of drugs especially. This often leads to falsehood, and, I fear, in too many cases to absolute perjury."

These remarks are, in the application of them, very far-reaching. The immorality of adulteration extends to all cases in which an article is sold to a customer for one thing when it really is another, and when under such false appearances it is made to bring in to the tradesman a price which otherwise it would not command.

Our author then points out the iniquity of traffic in all cases where the Government of the country is defrauded of its demands, contrary to the Word of God: "Render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's;" and again, pay "tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom;" properly pointing out that it is impossible to plead in justification of the breach of God's command the superiority of the Government of a Tiberius or a Nero over that of our beloved country. He proceeds:

"If I mention exorbitant gain as certainly one of the iniquities of traffic, it will not be with the design of leading your readers to censure others, in cases wherein they have only an uncertain guess at their profits and losses; but with a view, the Lord willing, to excite those who fear the Lord and would depart from all iniquity to look carefully to themselves."

"Let him who would keep himself from idolatry seek for grace to watch against the inordinate love of gain, which may exceedingly injure the soul, and deaden the heart to God, even where the profits are not so exorbitant as to render a man chargeable with injustice to his customers. The iniquity of covetousness may offend the Lord, and cause him to hide himself from your soul, O Christian man, though worldly prudence should keep you from falling into those temptations which would injure your character for probity and fair dealing."

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"The extravagance and discontent of many among the poor may frequently induce them to murmur at their employers without cause; but let not richer professors on that account disregard all charges of oppressing the poor, by beating them down in their wages, while they are making vast fortunes, perhaps, by their labour. Such iniquity, wherever it exists in its fulness, is very heinous in the eyes of JEHOVAH, and the cries of the needy will assuredly bring down a curse on those that grind the faces of the poor; even a terrible curse which cannot be averted by an orthodox creed, nor by occasional donations in support of the gospel; for the Lord hateth robbery for burnt offering." "I will now add but one branch more of the 'iniquity of traffic,' from which I am afraid some professors of godliness are not universally clear. I refer to the case of monopoly and injurious competition. If God be displeased by those who 'join house to house, and lay field to field till there be no place, and they have their dwelling alone to themselves in the midst of the land,' must he not also be displeased with those overgrown traders who labour to get profitable articles so entirely into their own hands as to command what price they please. I profess not to enter into particulars.

I only throw out hints grounded on an expression contained in the Scriptures of truth."

"It well becomes all persons professing godliness to be on their guard against any approach to the iniquity of traffic."

"Those have need, too, to be the most careful whose gains are the greatest; for though I have heard of curing slight disorders of the eyes by rubbing them with a small piece of gold, yet I suspect that a large quantity of that metal will have a very opposite effect upon the eyes of the mind.”

Thus our author concludes a paper which certainly contains many suggestive remarks upon an exceedingly striking and suggestive expression in the Word of God. There is much, too, in his remarks worthy of consideration by the Lord's people. The

question is asked in Ps. xxiv.: "Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?" The answer points primarily, and so far as perfection of title goes, to the Lord Jesus, the King of glory; but it also indicates the characters, as after the Spirit, of the seed of Jacob generally, when the reply is given: "He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart." Now, we know that the heart in which covetousness reigns is not pure; and the hands defiled by the "iniquity of traffic" cannot be counted clean. It will be the mercy, then, of the Lord's people if, in these dark and dangerous days, these days of luxury and pressing competition, they are enabled by divine grace to take heed to themselves and to keep themselves undefiled by the "iniquity of traffic." "Be not conformed," says Paul," to this world." And James, giving the character of true Christianity, declares, "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this to keep himself unspotted from the world." To the furthering, if the will of the Lord be so, this good and profitable end, may the Lord give to his people a gracious acceptance of these hints about the "Iniquity of Traffic."

BAPTISMAL EXERCISES AND DIVINE

LEADINGS.

A SERIES OF FIVE LETTERS.

My very dear Friend,-Your letter was very welcome. The reading of it brought tears to my eyes.

Now to the subject you spoke of. I do most earnestly desire what I am about to put on paper may be done under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and in the fear of the Lord. It has been the wish of my heart, if ever the Lord would permit such an unworthy creature as I am to tread in his footsteps, by going through believers' baptism, that you might be one with me. The longing desire I have had at times to honour that God whom I trust has done so much for me, by making a public profession of his Name, I am sure you are not a stranger to; and we want to partake of the privilege of the children of God. We do not like to be shut out from them. But I know what you say is right, there is a searching to find the right time and place for these things.

It was with mingled feelings I read yours. Something seemed to say, "It is the Lord's doings." And on the other hand, fears arose: Suppose I am mistaken. Some time ago I thought of telling you of some words I had during my stay with you. I have been tried about them since. I thought I would wait and see if you should mention the subject; and as you have done so, I do not think I ought to withhold it any longer. Do you remember the evening Mr. Piper visited you? Whilst you were engaged with him, my soul went out in earnest pleading to the Lord that he would make it plain to me what his will was

respecting it, and what was right for me to do, by giving me some word. The following words came, but they were not what I wanted: "Watch unto prayer." After our walk, these words came with more sweetness than power (which has tried me not a little): "Behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it." The words had an abiding with me; and the next day these followed: "I will work, and who shall let it ?” But something seemed to say, "How can these things be?” When these words dropped into my heart:

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'When, and where, and by what means,
To his wisdom leaving."

I felt, if that was really from God, nothing would prevent me going forward. I felt a rest, believing the Lord would in his own time make a way for me. After my return, I decided it would not be right for me to make a move under present circumstances.

On the following Sunday, a line of a hymn that was sung came home to me:

"Patch up no inglorious peace."

It seemed to say to me, You shall not shelter yourself under that. I felt so tossed about in mind that I did not know what to do. It appeared to me the Lord paid no regard to my supplications, as I did not find that rest in giving it up that I hoped for; and to my shame I say it, I felt such rebellion rise up against him that it made me tremble, knowing that he might have cut me off, and spurned me from him for ever. If he was not a long-suffering and forgiving God, he would not bear with me as he does. I looked forward to the time when it would be over, thinking then I should have a little respite. How I did wish I was one with them at the last baptizing; also on the Sunday when they were received into the church. My cry was, "Do thou, dear Lord, enable me to follow in thy footsteps; for thou knowest I have no strength of my own." Once, when sorely perplexed, not knowing what to do, these words came: "Trust him; he will not deceive you,

Though you hardly of him deem.”

But the sweetness of these things is gone. I believe there was too much great I about me, and what I would do if the Lord would only show me what his will was. Peter did not speak with greater vain-confidence when he told his Lord and Master, though all men should deny him, yet would not he, than I did.

I think the Lord is now dealing with me as he did with the children of Israel. (Deut. viii. 2.) I hope he is humbling me, proving me, to know what there is in my heart, and whether I will keep his commandments or no. How gladly would I, but I have no strength of my own; and I often fear whether it is not the pride of my heart that prompts me, that I may be thought something of. And yet how gladly would I give up all thoughts of it if I could! Sometimes I do for a short time; but it is sure to return again; and I am so exercised about the pro

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